Touching down at London Gatwick, a sudden warmth of comfort washed over me. I hold down the button, wait, and gleefully watch the small screen illuminate. 5 days with no mobile use, no contact to the outside world, and I’m hit with the realisation of how much we, as a nation, depend on our mobile phones.
Like a pay-monthly equivalent to a 20-a-day addiction, or the desperate craving of a drug a little stronger, the obsession with our phones may not be as life threatening- but it’s as sure as fanatical. I hold my hands up. I am Rachel, and I am an iPhoneaholic. Engulfed by the instant communication of that little device; the inability to let it leave my fingertips for more than 5 minutes. Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, Instagram… like a Lewis Caroll rabbit coaxing you down an abyss of endless contact, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The ‘crack-berry’ intoxication seems to be spreading, as I look around the busy train carriage home, not a single commuter is blissfully looking out the window, or smiling cheerfully at another traveller. Every single pair of eyes are face down on that illuminated touch screen. A constant craving for a minute by minute update of the world’s happenings, a game, a message, a photo – the mobile device has now become an extension of the human arm.
A recent survey on Twitter concluded that on average, an adult in our modern western society checks his or her phone over 150 times a day. This result, though at first a little shocking, I believe to be generously understated. Feeds updated, statuses written, photos edited and shared and relationships ‘liked’ – but what does it all mean? Are Social Networks actually, in fact, making us less sociable? The next generation of youngsters evolving in the technological world will be void of any face to face communication ability. Social skills, speaking confidence, and non-verbal gestures will be replaced with abbreviated acronyms and emoticons, killing our social skills (not to mention our language!) No-one’s private life will be, well, private! And above all… it’s another thing we’ll have to teach our grandparents!
Yet, despite all these worries and the negative press mobile phones have had, our addiction continues. What was once deemed socially unacceptable, and outright rude, has now become a part of everyday life. Mobile phones aren’t a strange accompaniment to the dinner table, nor are they absent from meeting rooms or work desks. They contain our schedules, our emails, our photos, our news feeds, pretty much anything one man (or woman) could need, and all in the palm of your hand.
The iPhone – an extension of my right hand; the one thing I could not live without. Despite the calloused fingertips and indented pocket marks; maybe us technoholics, the crack-berry addicts, the iPhone dependent; I wonder…. maybe we are becoming too attached?